The date for the legal battle between the ANC and the Jacob Zuma-backed MK Party over the registration dispute of the party has been set for March 19 at the Electoral Court in Bloemfontein.
This comes after the ANC had last month requested the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) to reverse the registration of the new MK Party while at the same time having dragged the party to court over a trademark dispute.
The war of words as well as political mudslinging come as the MK Party continues to make inroads in regions and areas previously dominated by the ANC, despite some opposition parties regarding the Zuma-backed party as a regional party.
On Saturday, while the EFF was at Moses Mabhida Stadium and the ANC was preparing for its manifesto launch, set for the same venue, Zuma filled the Alexandra Stadium with throngs of party supporters eager to hear Msholozi speak.
Zuma’s appearance in Alex also coincided with a secret poll which revealed that the MK Party’s support was big enough to cause serious damage in the upcoming general elections, which could cost the ANC its majority.
During his address, Zuma said members of the MK Party should be wary of people coming from the ANC to join the organisation as they might not join it with good intentions.
“These people would come to join Umkhonto weSizwe with the sole intention of corruption. That’s why I say we should choose now because others are here to join Umkhonto weSizwe for positions,” he said to loud cheers.
Zuma added that he is cautious of some who might leave the governing ANC on the pretence of joining the MK Party to cause disruption.
The former president, however, said he found comfort in the fact that some of the MK leaders were aware of such opportunistic behaviour.
Thabiso Mokoena, from Alexandra, said many of the ANC people said MK was a party for bitter and angry people, but now that it was gaining momentum, they were dragging them to court.
“I remember vividly when they said MK is a non-existent party and they kept swearing at president Zuma. Now things are going for us and unfortunately not going smoothly for them,” Mokoena added.
Since the announcement of the MK Party and Zuma’s endorsement of it, the movement has been receiving a backlash from the ANC.
On Sunday, during an ANC Women’s League volunteers event held at the Orlando Stadium Community Hall, ANC chairperson and Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi said those who left the ANC to join the MK Party should never attempt to come back.
“We are saying to those who have left the ANC to join that other party must never come back. They must never attempt to come back. Hambile Hambile,” Lesufi said.
At the centre of the upcoming electoral matter between the ANC and the MK Party is the issue of the name, as well as the trade mark which ANC secretary-general, Fikile Mbalula, said belongs to the ANC and not Zuma’s MK Party.
Both parties are now set to ventilate this matter with the battle destined for the Electoral Court in Bloemfontein on March 19. This came after court issued a notice announcing the date for the hearing to both the ANC as the applicant, and the MK Party.
“ ... pursuant to the provisions of the rules of this court, the above-mentioned appeals/application has been set down for hearing in this court at 9.45am Tuesday, March 19.
“If the appeal/application is not to proceed, kindly notify this office and the Registrar of the court a quo immediately,” the court said.
Last month, Chief Electoral Officer Sy Mamabolo said the commission had made submissions on the matter explaining the circumstances that led to the MK Party’s registration.
“We hope that once it has considered all the evidence before it, it will make a call,” he said.
Last week, Independent Media reported MK Party spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndhlela as saying that the emergence of the party came as a result of traditional leaders, church leaders and disgruntled ANC members having begged Zuma to come out of retirement to help with the idea of a new party.
“It was an idea of civil society, including traditional leaders and church leaders, who felt that this country was going to the dogs because the ANC was captured and that black people were no longer flourishing,” Ndhlela had said.